Nonwoven product manufacturer Fibertex South Africa’s manufacturing plant in Hammarsdale, KwaZulu-Natal – which is one of six Fibertex factories in the world – is now the largest nonwoven geotextiles manufacturing facility in Africa.
Fibertex South Africa – part of a global organisation, with its head office in Denmark – has made a substantial investment in the latest technology to increase the production capacity of geosynthetic products.
“Expansion of the local operation, with advanced machinery and expanded ware-housing facilities, means Fibertex South Africa is now well positioned to meet growing demand, not only in Africa but also from countries in Europe, Australasia and Asia,” says Fibertex South Africa CEO Clive Hitchcock.
The Hammarsdale plant now boasts a diverse range of nonwoven products, manufactured to stringent international quality, safety and environmental specifications, he explains. The KwaZulu-Natal facility has successfully completed a rigorous audit and will soon be awarded the coveted CE – European Conformity – marking, which is a mandatory certification for products sold within the European Economic Area.
“What’s also notable, is the Hammarsdale facility is the only plant in South Africa that manufactures geotextiles out of virgin polypropylene (PP). These needle-punched materials, with a strong elastic bonding between the fibres, are used in building and construction works for separation, filtration, drainage, protection, stabilisation and reinforcement, as well as in the automotive, furniture and filtration markets,” he says.
Virgin PP has specific applications in areas where the textile may be in contact with alkaline conditions, for example, in slime dams and waste sites. These PP geotextiles have advantages in installations where the cost of failure may be extreme, in both financial and environmental terms, as they have a high level of chemical stability under a wide range of environmental conditions.
Concern for the environment is critical at Fibertex and no chemical binders are used in the product or production process. In addition to the wide range of products made from virgin PP, Fibertex also has a range of products based on recycled polyethylene terephthalate, he explains. No waste which has to be discarded is produced within the plant. Similarly, all products produced are 100% recyclable. Consequently, Fibertex nonwovens are not harmful to the environment.
“There is no compromise on quality at the Fibertex manufacturing plant. All processes – which incorporate a combination of carding, needle punching and thermal bonding – are automated and impeccable standards at every stage of production are maintained by ‘Q-Match’. This is a digitally integrated quality management system that is implemented throughout the Fibertex group,” says Hitchcock.
The Fibertex geosynthetics range encom-passes nonwoven and woven geotextiles, gabions and mattresses, drainage pipes, fittings, erosion control and cellular confinement solutions. The company also supplies soil reinforcing products, including geogrids and geocells, as well as geo-synthetic clay liners as part of composite lining systems in modern landfills.